Egoscue: (Before and) After

Remember how I promised to give you an update about my progress after doing Egoscue for a week?

As promised, here I am with the (honest) results.

Before I reveal the results, though, remember: You will not see my scoliosis appearing to have been “cured.”

There is no known cure for scoliosis. We don’t know if it’s caused by environmental factors, a neurological misfire, or hormonal imbalances, or all of the above, or something else entirely. Until we figure that out, nothing will actually “cure” scoliosis.

What methods like Egoscue (and others like it) can do, however, is help us manage the symptoms so we can live a more functional, active, healthy, happy life.

And that’s what’s happened for me here :).

Scoliosis before and after 5 days of Egoscue. Click to enlarge.

(Click to enlarge.)

 

Am I still crooked? Yes! I have an incurable, idiopathic condition! But do I feel and look better? Absolutely.

Oh, and another thing? I actually didn’t do my Egoscue every day for the past 7 days. I was only able to do it every day for 5 days.

That means that within 5 sessions, I was able to achieve the above results.

Because it’s sometimes difficult to know how to put into words what we’re seeing, and also because you can’t get inside my head to know how I’m feeling, let me do a little amateur self-analysis on my progress (again, keep in mind that I am NOT an Egoscue therapist and do not hold any professional health designations. I’m just a regular person who has done this long enough, using her eyeballs and powers of observation):

Before and after analysis1) My shoulders are less uneven.

2) My kyphosis symptoms are lessened. When I took this “Before” photo, I was fighting to bring my shoulder blades back that far so my scapulae would lay that flat. Now, it’s much easier and I’m more upright.

3) As I mentioned, my scapulae are laying much more flat. Before, my right scapula was sticking out so much that if I stood with my back against a wall, my right scapula would practically “vault” my entire right side off of the wall–it was impossible for me to be flat against any surface, even my mattress.

4) Don’t do what I did and be fooled by the optical illusion created by the shadow–that indentation on the lower right side of my back is much less significant now!

5) Look at my “Before” photo, and notice how my left elbow is actually touching my body. Then look at my right elbow, and how far away it is from my body (this is caused by the rotation of my ribcage/shoulders). When I swung my arms as I walked, my left arm would brush against my side, and my right arm felt like it was flinging off into the wild blue yonder, making me feel very off-balance.

Now look at my “After” photo. Can you see that there is now daylight between my left elbow and my body? The right elbow is still fairly far away, but I can tell you that I feel more balanced. Not totally balanced, but more balanced, and that’s happy progress for me!

How about the other things I mentioned in my last post, like how the weight of my body was carried unevenly on my feet, or how my head felt like it was always jutting forward on my neck, or the whole “ribs-pushing-into-my-organs-and-making-it-difficult-to-breathe” thing?

Feet: Weight has shifted into my back heels, so the entire “front” part of my feet feel unsteady. (Being honest :).)

Head/neck: Still jutted forward, but I haven’t noticed any more neck pain in the past few days. Which is great, because it used to be almost constant.

Ribcage-in-organs thing: Poking very slightly, but overall? The pushing feeling has been greatly minimized, and I can draw a full breath again :).

But I promised to be honest, right?

Here’s the thing with scoliosis: Our scoliotic bodies actually believe, for whatever reason, that our spines being crooked and wonky is actually normal, maybe even good.

So what happens when you attempt to make your spine straight? Your body finds new ways to fight back, to make you curved again.

With Egoscue and other methods like it, as your body builds up a “tolerance” for the exercises you’ve been doing to straighten out your spine, the exercises become less effective, and you need a new set of exercises, to fight against the new stupid thing your body wants to do.

For me, my body tends to build up its tolerance against my Egoscue exercises about every 4 weeks. For some people, it’s less than that, for some people, it’s more than that, but for my body, it’s 4 weeks.

And as it just so happens, today is exactly 4 weeks since my last visit to my Egoscue therapist, so I will be making a trip to Austin later today to get reassessed, and given a whole new set of exercises to counterbalance the new stupid things my body wants to do.

So frankly, these results aren’t even as great as they usually are after I have been practicing Egoscue for 5 days, but I’m glad this happened so I could tell you this–

Using an alternative method can be effective and totally worth it for some scoliotics, but it’s hard work, and you need to be confident that the alternative method that you choose is adaptable to fit your scoliosis’s ever-changing moods and needs, so that you can continue to manage it for a lifetime.

Maybe today my therapist will give me more exercises to help me stand more evenly on my feet, and address the ribcage rotation that’s pushing into my organs slightly, whereas last month she might have been more focused on a hip imbalance and my right rotated femur (that causes pain in my knee), for example.

The point is, as I slowly creep toward being comfortable and functional at least 90% of the time (my goal), little things will start trying to go awry, and it’s awesome to have a professional being right there with me the whole time, giving me a custom set of things to do daily that address my specific needs and problems.

I’m looking forward to seeing what my therapist and I come up with today, as I continue to slowly move toward more optimal, permanent spinal health :).

I hope this little experiment was encouraging and informative, and please leave me your thoughts and questions in the comments!

6 Comments on “Egoscue: (Before and) After

  1. Can you share some of this week’s menu? It would also be interesting to see what Austin prescribes for you next.

  2. Hey Steve, no problem! I’m assuming you know these terms, so sorry if I’m wrong and this is confusing:

    {Next 3 e-cises are from a Flexion Abdominals position against a wall; done for 3 sets}
    – 10x Arm Rotations
    – 10x Hooklying Goal Posts
    – 10x Rotator Cuff Series 3 (w/no weights)
    {Next 3 e-cises are from a Flexion Ab Position – Wishbone position}
    – 15 Arm Glides
    – Pressing knees together gently for 2 minutes
    – Strap around knees; pull strap gently outwards for 2 minutes
    – 1 minute Upper Spinal Floor Twist
    – 1 minute Hip Crossover Stretch, palms down
    – Child’s Pose Elevated for 15-20 breaths
    – 10x Pelvic Tilts
    – 2 minutes Hand-Leg Opposite Blocked
    – 1 minute Floor Block
    – 10 minutes Towel Settle w/Strap

    I hope that was insightful, and feel free to ask questions.

    **Disclaimer: This set of e-cises are not recommended for every scoliotic–they just so happen to be what >I< am using at this time. If you choose to attempt any of these e-cises, proceed at your own risk.**

  3. Lindsey, tonight I was looking for reviews of the Egoscue method (I have a bulging disc pressing on a femoral nerve that has been hellish – I was given a referral to a pain doc) and found your awesome website. I live in Austin and think maybe I should be calling the Austin Egoscue clinic tomorrow to schedule an evaluation. So glad you are having success with this method and that you’ve decided to get certified! Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    • Hi Timary!

      So glad you found helpful info here. Feedback like this is encouraging :).

      Yowza, that bulging disk sounds awful. I feel like I’ve heard Rick and Theresa (the owners of the Egoscue Austin clinic) talk about working with clients who have similar conditions, so you should definitely check them out, if you haven’t already. Katie and Nicole are fabulous, too!

      Best of luck on your journey toward healing!

  4. This is interesting what you said, but then do you vary your exercises? I also have similar curves as you and I was OK, no pain until I hit 40 and then started getting lower back pain. So I’m trying PT, pilates, stretches, everything I can think of. I like your site a lot and thanks for posting. It’s nice to get support from others.

    ” Your body finds new ways to fight back, to make you curved again.

    With Egoscue and other methods like it, as your body builds up a “tolerance” for the exercises you’ve been doing to straighten out your spine, the exercises become less effective, and you need a new set of exercises, to fight against the new stupid thing your body wants to do.”

    • Hey Allison!

      It varies from person-to-person, and condition-to-condition, but for me, I go to see my Egoscue therapist once a month to get all-new exercises. She will reassess me, see how I’ve improved and where my body is fighting to be crooked again, and then creates a totally customized “menu” (as the set of exercises is called) for me, to deal with the new symptoms.

      After having done Egoscue for almost 6 years, I’m very, very happy to report now that when I walk into my one-month checkup sessions, I usually say the same thing now: “I’m really not in any pain–I haven’t noticed any drastic relapses anywhere, and am overall pretty comfortable, except for a few spots every once in a while.” So on my normal days, I am completely pain-free and able to comfortably do things I couldn’t do 6 years ago–like, say, sit in a car for over an hour, or walk around for hours while shopping. Now I can easily do a car ride that lasts 3+ hours, and walking around for prolonged lengths of time either doesn’t bother me at all, or bothers me minimally.

      Anyway, since I’ve now reached a point where my therapist isn’t “putting out fires” every time I come in (which was every two weeks, at first), we can focus on increased healing and/or maintaining where I am, and the way we do that is by changing the menu to be comprised of new exercises, based on her observations of where my body is at the moment.

      I hope that answers your question! Feel free to ask anything else–I love talking about this subject :).

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